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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Blog Update – Just in Case You Hadn’t Noticed

Published May 24, 2012 - 2 Comments

I’ve been working on the look of the blog again.  When I think back to how it used to look on the old Blogger platform, and many many different variations on WordPress… well… it’s quite amazing, actually!

I stumbled onto a brand new blog tonight.  I was clicking randomly through twitter links, and notice someone posting that her blog was now live, so naturally I went to check it out.  There was a single post there.  No comments.  When I say a brand new blog, I mean a brand spankin’ new blog!

As I read through Katching Kayte I wondered whether the blogger would follow through with her current passion, or whether she would eventually succumb to writer’s block, and Katching Kayte would become yet another addition to the dead blog wasteland…  Only time will tell.

What’s new with WhatAboutStephen?  The blog is still running on the Thesis WordPress theme.  (Remember when I was so frustrated switching to Thesis?)  I moved from the free Thesis Sharp skin to the premium Thesis Blogskin.  I think that it’s a little crisper than Thesis Sharp.  I hope that you agree.

I’m making better use of the teasers on the front page, including thumbnail pictures with them.  Thumbnail and post pictures have always been a little tricky for me, but I think that I’ve finally managed to figure it all out.  Unfortunately this change makes my previous posts look rather sloppy. If a post is not configured properly, it will show a missing photo link… I would have to go back and correct each post manually, and that’s about 3 years worth.  I don’t foresee that happening.  As new posts continue to push the existing ones off the front page, it will become less noticeable.  Oh, curious about those smiley faces?  Those are default thumbnails and get placed there automatically if I chose not to include a photo within the post.  Think of them as a placeholder.  I will probably end up changing them, but for now they work.

I’ve removed some of the more annoying widgets from the sidebar.  In fact, I went on a bit of a cleaning spree and removed A LOT of plugins that I’ve installed over the years.  Most of those are things that you would not notice, but hopefully it provides a little cleaner interface, and fewer 3rd party plugins reduces the chances of a conflict.

So other than a couple of cosmetic things that I want to test out (I really would like to have a proper banner graphic, except that I’m artistically-challenged) I think that I’m pretty much settled on the way things are… for now… and will turn my attention to updating some of my other projects that have been neglected over the past few months.

Thanks for reading!

Selfish vs Selfless – It’s Important to Recognize the Difference

Published May 23, 2012 - 8 Comments

Selfishdevoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardlessof others.

Selflesshaving little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish.

Sometimes it’s easy to get confused when you hear either of these words.  Selfish.  Selfless.  They can sound pretty similar,  but their meanings couldn’t be any more polar opposite.  Of course, you know that already.  Everyone knows the difference between those two words.  That’s the easy part.  The hard part is actually recognizing the difference when you see one of those two behaviours.  Think you can spot the difference?  So did I, but guess what?  It’s not always as easy as it sounds.

Avoid people who put themselves first at the expense of others around them.  Embrace those who give freely while asking nothing in return.  Those are the people you want in your life.  They’re out there… you just have to recognize them when you see them…

40 is the New 60

Published May 22, 2012 - 0 Comments

I woke up today and I’m pretty sure that I could feel my metabolism grinding to a halt.  Yes… I am now officially old… over the hill… one foot in the grave… however you want to think of it.

My 30s are behind me.  I’ve been trying to make a mental list of all the things that I was supposed to accomplish by today.  There’s no Lexus in my front yard.  Hell, there’s no front yard.  And I’m still sitting here on a night shift, rather than on the front deck of my little place on the lake.

No shortage of dreams…  only results…

Happy Birthday.

Maroon 5 – Payphone

Published May 21, 2012 - 3 Comments

I’m not always the biggest Maroon 5 fan.  It’s basically a hit and miss thing when it comes to their music.  Some of it I like… some of it annoys me.  When I heard their latest, Payphone, on the radio I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s kinda catchy.  I really didn’t listen to the words very closely, though.  So when I bought the song on iTunes and heard the chorus I literally stopped what I was doing and looked at the track… “Did he just say what I thought he said?”  Yup!  The radio version is a little different than the iTunes version… or the video version!

There are actually two videos for this song… one lyrical, and the other essentially a movie production.  While the movie-like one is quite a video, the lyrical one clears up any confusion about the meaning of the song.  Guess which one I prefer?

 

Ghosts

Published May 15, 2012 - 0 Comments

You can’t undo them.

You can’t outrun them.

They’re always there.

Taunting you from the shadows.

Mocking your every move.

What’s the point?

Arby’s Market Fresh Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich = Blahness in a Bun

Published May 15, 2012 - 2 Comments

Always on the lookout for another variation of my favourite lunchtime meal, I was quite interested in trying the reintroduced Arby’s Market Fresh Pecan Chicken Salad sandwich.  Well… Let me tell ya.. I’ve never been so disappointed with a chicken salad sandwich as I was after a single  bite of this thing.  At first glance the sandwich looks great.  It’s a good size, so you’re probably not going to be hungry once you’ve finished it. IF you finish it.

If you’re looking at it and thinking that it’s simply too fancy for my liking, let me remind you that Subway had a chicken salad sandwich a couple of summers ago that also included apple and raisins, and I loved it!  So much that I wrote Subway when they didn’t bring it back, telling them that they should!  So it’s not that this has chunks of apple and pecans… it’s just that everything about it tastes horrible… right from the honey wheat bread (which is standard on all Market Fresh sandwiches) to the grapes, pecan, apple, chicken salad… maybe it’s the mayonaise they use… I don’t know… There’s just something about it that isn’t very good.  I ate about a quarter of it, and then threw it in the garbage… and that is saying something!  Especially when the combo was over $9..

It’s really a shame because I wanted to enjoy the Market Fresh Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich… but I’m going to have to stick with their roast beef.

In case anyone was interested:

Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich
Serving Weight (g) 311 Trans Fat (g) 0.5 Sugars (g) 20
Calories 840 Cholesterol (mg) 75 Proteins (g) 34
Calories from Fat 400 Sodium (mg) 1210 Vitamin A (% DV) 20
Fat – Total (g) 44 Total Carbohydrates (g) 81 Vitamin C (% DV) 8
Saturated Fat (g) 6 Dietary Fiber (g) 6 Calcium (% DV) 25
Iron (% DV) 25

I Told You that Change was Coming!

Published May 13, 2012 - 5 Comments

I’ve spent two nights in my new apartment!  I’m not fully moved in yet but I’m slowly working on it.  We were able to get most of the big stuff moved on my days off, even though the heavens opened up and spilled the most water I’ve seen in a long time.  Made for quite a mess, but we survived.

The new place is great!  An old building up town with plenty of character.  Beautiful high ceilings… real hardwood floors… I could see myself living there for a very long time if it wasn’t all part of my Master Plan to only be there a year.

I’m able to walk to work now, which is fantastic.  There is so much history in that area, and I’ve never really taken notice of it before.

Great news!  I got the job that I put my name in for!  Same company, but different area… different floor… different team… and most importantly.. different hours!  No more shift work!  I’ll be a Mon-Fri worker for the first time ever.  Hard to believe that I’ll be 40 very soon, and I’ve never had a job with regular hours.  This should be nice.  I don’t know when I’ll be starting the new position.  The two bosses have to work out a schedule, but generally they say that it takes approximately 6 weeks.

My Kia Sportage still has not arrived, but I’ve been driving a loaner Spectra for a week, so I really don’t care how long it takes that Sportage to get here.  I’m just happy to be driving something newer than my old Spectra.

And lastly… Happy Mother’s Day to my Mum and all mums out there!

Stuff That I Really Like

Published May 8, 2012 - 0 Comments

You may have noticed on the right hand side of the page that I’ve added a category called Stuff That I Really Like .  I used to have an area that showed a couple of 125 x 125 square block ads that dealt primarily with blogging stuff, like my Thesis WordPress theme, or  the Marketing Samurai keyword analysis tool.  I recently discovered that I could also add Amazon Affiliate links to the rotating area.  I thought that it would be fun to go through and add a few things into the random mix.  Yes, these are all affiliate links, but more importantly they are actually things that I USE and not merely things that I put in there for the hell of it.  So you get a little glimpse of my life, whether it’s the blogging backend systems, or my favourite cheese grater.  And even if you never click on a link, you might still get a chuckle out of some of the things that scroll through there.  Can you believe that it’s possible to buy cans of Coke from Amazon?  Yup!  Just plain ole regular cans of Coke… plus shipping and handling…  Why anyone would choose to do that is beyond me.

Then again… remember the Peanut Butter on EBay for $24?  Yeah…

Notice the Big Fat Zero?!?

Published May 7, 2012 - 7 Comments

Yesterday I decided to step on the scale and record whatever the number said… good or bad…

Bad… very, very bad…

229.4 lbs

I think that the most I have ever weighed was 230…  and that was years ago… so to see that I was up several pounds from the last time I had checked… well… it sucked.  But I recorded it as I had promised I would… and watched MyFitnessPal counter change from 3 to 0.  In fact, I was curious if it was going to show me a negative number, just to rub it in.

I’m not even going to try to make excuses, because there are none.  I failed.  I failed to eat properly.  I failed to exercise.  I failed to record what I was doing.  And the result of all that failure was a substantial increase in weight, and all the things that go hand in hand with that…

It didn’t take long for a message to appear in my inbox from MyFitnessPal.  One of the members had seen my post, and replied with something that I will include here shortly.  It’s funny… all my “real life” friends who had joined MyFitnessPal quit after a bit.  (I should acknowledge that Cletta stuck with it though, and it’s working for her!) The woman who sent me the message is someone I’ve never met.  I’m not even sure if I know her real name, but we’ve talked a little about our ups and downs in the weight department.  She is someone who seems to be friends with everyone on that site, and is always there with a few words of encouragement.  This is what she wrote:

When you’ve eaten too much and you can’t write it down, And you feel like the biggest failure in town.❤ When you want to give up just because you gave in, and forget all about being healthy and thin.❤ So What! You went over your points a bit, It’s your next move that counts…So don’t you quit!❤ It’s a moment of truth, it’s an attitude change. It’s learning the skills to get back in your range.❤ It’s telling yourself, “You’ve done great up till now. You can take on this challenge and beat it somehow.”;❤ It’s part of your journey toward reaching your goal. You’re still gonna make it, just stay in control. To stumble and fall is not a disgrace, If you summon the will to get back in the race.❤ But, often the strugglers, when loosing their grip, Just throw in the towel and continue to slip.❤ And learn too late when the damage is done, that the race wasn’t over…they still could have won.❤ Lifestyle change can be awkward and slow, but facing each challenge will help you grow. Success is failure turned inside out, the silver tint in a cloud of doubt. When you’re pushing to the brink, just refuse to submit, ❤ If you bite it, you write it….But don’t you quit! ❤ Xoxo❤❤❤

I don’t know if Lgladybug wrote that herself, or saved it from something she stumbled upon, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s absolutely true… don’t quit.

Best Media Player? It’s Gotta be VLC …

Published May 7, 2012 - 4 Comments

I’m not certain what surprised me the most… the fact that not everyone uses VLC media player, or the fact that TechRadar was able to put together a field of 16 media players in their Best Media Player for Performance test!  16?  Really?  I thought that I knew a little bit about media players but I had no idea that there were that many available.  But unless you’re some crazy “Down with the establishment” obscure software fanatic, I’m going to save you a lot of trouble… you need only concern yourself with one media player: VLC.

The VLC media player by VideoLAN is a free, open-source, multi-platform media player capable of playing virtually every known media type available to you.  I personally have never seen it unable to play something, whether video or audio format.  And while it does play audio just fine, its true value is as an unparalleled  video player.  You want to download something off the net and view it?  VLC is going to play it no matter what.  If it doesn’t, then the file is corrupted anyway.  Would rather stream video than download it?  Not a problem!  VLC does that too.

Did I mentioned that VLC is completely free?  Yup.  No ads.  No spyware.  Nothing.  Just a fantastic piece of software that does exactly what it’s supposed to do, no questions asked.

Chances are that you’re probably running a Windows machine (I’m sorry ’bout that)… you could try to watch your downloaded movies and TV shows with Windows Media Player, but you’re going to have to install different codecs depending on how those files were encoded.  Does that sound like gibberish to you?  Forget Windows Media Player and install VLC.  Not running a Windows machine?  (yeah!)  VLC is still your best option!  You can download it for your Mac, or your Linux distribution.  I’ve used it flawlessly on both Mac and Ubuntu Linux.  It’s a beautiful thing.

And just for kicks I read through TechRadar’s post, because I was curious about VLC’s performance when compared to some of those other 15 media players.  They did say that VLC was beaten in a few of their benchmarks, but that over-all, VLC was ahead of the pack.

Was there really any doubt?  I didn’t think so.

Go download VLC media player and have one less headache to deal with.